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Will Eliminating Extreme Poverty Require a Miracle?

Eliminate poverty How do you define a miracle? I heard once that it is “a divine or supernatural invasion into human affairs.” Pretty simple explanation, don’t you think?

I find myself praying for miracles every day and they all look and sound quite different. Some are for healing for friends who are sick. Some are for perfect provision for families. Some are for little, personal things like …  returned e-mails. Perhaps that seems trivial or petty, but there has been an e-mail I have been waiting for, hoping for really, for months now. At this point, it would seem like a miracle to get a response.

I don’t know if you’ve heard, but here at Compassion many people believe that we can eliminate extreme poverty [3] in our generation. Let’s put a little more structure in that statement, shall we?

To eliminate means to remove, to expel, to exclude, even to murder.

How big is the problem of extreme poverty? Three billion people worldwide and 1 billion children deep.

You might think we’re “drunk on the spirit,” and that our goal is unrealistic, completely irrational or even not Biblical [4]. I will be honest with you, I thought it was out of reach, too. Truly, I thought it to be an impossible task.

But lately, both personally and professionally, God has been asking me this simple question — “Do you have any idea who I am? I know you think you do. But do you believe that I am the God of the Bible? The one who parts seas, makes rivers in the desert, and brings bread from boulders?

“Do you believe I am a God of signs and wonders? Do you believe I am as big as you tell others I am? Do you believe I still perform miracles, Meredith?”

I wonder if I am the only one who preaches bigger than they pray. I used to be Baptist, which means I get excited when I talk about Jesus and I get loud when I read Scripture. You could say I’m passionate.

But I also play my prayer life safe. I don’t pray big prayers because I’m scared they’re too lofty, too much. And in the event that God would say “No,” to one of my astronomical prayers, I don’t want to be disappointed. So I don’t even risk asking.

Here’s the thing — this is not how we are instructed to pray or live. As Christ kneeled in the garden of Gethsemane, He asked the Lord to take the cup of sacrifice from Him. God said no. But Jesus obeyed, did as He was told, and saved humankind for all time.

We, as believers, are called to defend the poor and needy, to advocate for the oppressed, to fight injustice. If we do as we are told, if we obey God’s call and mandate on our lives, we would be crazy to think that He won’t show up in a big way, being faithful to what He has promised to do.

He cannot deny Himself — and if He is present in your soul, making Himself manifest in your thoughts, words and actions, then He will not deny you or your request.

Pray bigger with me. Pray for miracles. Pray for signs and wonders.

Pray that extreme poverty would come to an end in our lifetime. And after you pray, do something.

It’s not radical …  it’s Biblical.

Editor’s note: Extreme poverty is the severest state of poverty. People living in extreme poverty cannot meet their most basic needs for food, water, shelter, sanitation and health care.

The World Bank defines extreme poverty as living on less than U.S. $1.25 per day, and estimates that more than 1 billion people currently live under these conditions and another 2 billion survive on less than U.S. $2 per day.